For some, coming out to their parents–especially when one of them happens to be an NBA Hall of Famer–is no easy thing and that can be said for EJ Johnson.
Born in 1991 to former Los Angeles Laker legend Magic Johnson and his wife, Cookie, EJ came out to his parents as gay in when he was a teenager.
In the newest episode of Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook Watch series, Red Table Talk, the mother and son detailed how the 26-year-old told his parents his truth and his father’s initial harsh reaction.
“We had the talk with Dad and that was a little tough,” Cookie said. “My husband is the kind of person like he reacts quickly. Everything that came to the top of his head, he just let it out.”
During the candid conversation with Pinkett Smith, the 59-year-old admitted that she knew her son was different when he was 3 and wanted to wear princess costumes to school and later on. when he had a particular affinity for her shoes and prioritized picking flowers in the outfield while playing baseball as a child.
When EJ was 15, his mother was there to witness an encounter between her son and his friend and knew it was time to have a discussion.
“We went to Hawaii once and I’m sitting behind him and his friend,” Cookie said.”The girls go by in their bathing suits and the guys go by and when the guys go by, they were like, ‘Whoa! Hey!’ and then girls go by and nothing. So I was like, okay, we need to have a talk.”
Eventually, EJ felt comfortable telling his dad the reality about his sexuality but the conversation, as Cookie recalls was “tough” and she had to have a serious talk with the 5-time NBA champ.
“It hurt my feelings and I know it probably hurt [EJ’s] feelings. Afterwards, I told him, I said, ‘I thought that was a little tough. That wasn’t right.’ Then he didn’t say anything,” Cookie said.
EJ revealed that the next day the two talked but it wasn’t until after he came back from college that their relationship went on without any hiccups.
“And was like, ‘We’re going to get through this and I just need time.’ And we both started crying a little bit…But then, I moved to New York to go to college and when he came back to visit, he picked me up for dinner and was like…he hugged me so hard, he almost broke my back and then at that point I was like, we’re gonna be okay. I could really feel the love. We’re gonna be fine.”
EJ, who has since starred on the E! reality series Rich Kids of Beverly Hills, is living his best life and his parents couldn’t be prouder!